Château Cos d'EstournelChampagne Bollinger It’s not everyday we get the chance to taste older vintages of Burgundy. The Bouchard Père & Fils masterclass was a unique and a rare opportunity to discover Premier and Grand Cru wines with 30 to 50 years' bottle age.
Philippe Prost talks of his wines and each individual parcel like they are part of his family; he knows every single detail of each vintage, from the harvest dates to the time in oak, without looking at notes. After taking us through a brief summary of the history of the family, Prost stressed how important terroir is to Burgundy: ‘the main assess is the terroir; it’s all about terroir expression; it’s all coming from the soil, the water and the mineral’.
The Bouchard family owns 132ha of which is split in 200 different plots and covers 74 appellations. Since 2005, the family has been making wine in their new cellar in Beaune; they invested in 138 vats in order to vinify each plot of Premier and Grand Cru separately, ‘the advantage of having 138 vats is for each plot we can wait the ultimate day of picking, we are never short of space’.
It has to be the 1959 Corton. What a privilege to taste a 50-year-old Burgundy. This is the most remarkable wine that still has a beautiful colour and fresh aromas of strawberry. It’s only in the true terroirs of Burgundy than you can still taste this freshness.
Surprise of the day:
The freshness of the older vintages. 1976, 1961 and 1959 still have an amazing natural acidity. The wines also have some young fruit nuances, even after 33 years.
Most surprising revelation:
At the end of the 19th century, the price of the Clos Vougeot was the same as Aloxe Corton or Fleurie in Beaujolais. Bouchard bought the total production of Clos Vougeot in 1887 and 1888, but in the following years, the company decided to invest in Fleurie instead of Clos Vougeot and bought the Château Poncié. ‘A big mistake in history,’ said Prost. In 1996, Bouchard Père & Fils bought 0.45 ha of Clos Vougeot (this represents 1% of the total production of the Clos)
‘We (Burgundians) never mention Pinot Noir because in Burgundy, we don’t make Pinot Noir, we make Pommard, Volnay, Corton, Gevrey …’
‘The wine [Chambertin Clos de Bèze 1989] is actually more important than we are – we have to let the wine comes toward us because we are not really up to it.’
Bouchard Père & Fils, Beaune du Château Rouge 2005
Lovely purity of fruit and a great expression of the Pinot grape. Natural acidity on the palate with silky tannins. An elegant structure with some pure cherry characters. Very harmonious.
Bouchard Père & Fils, Volnay Caillerets, Ancienne Cuvée Carnot 2003
Light concentration with notes of red berry fruit and figs. Very refined palate, silky tannins and very elegant; robust but with very fine acidity. Will develop over the next 10 years.
Bouchard Père & Fils, Pommard Rugiens 2002
Beautiful perfume with notes of wild strawberry. Good grip on the palate; firm structure with silky tannins. Elegant finesse and expression. Needs a bit more time.
Bouchard Père & Fils, Nuits Saint Georges les Cailles 2000
Some savoury notes on the nose. High acidity with silky tannins; elegant red fruit characters with a long, lingering finish.
Bouchard Père & Fils, Clos Vougeot 1999
Very attractive perfume, herbaceous and earthy notes with elegant fruit expression. Wonderful presence with a huge natural acidity. The oak is still intense but will soften up with time.
Bouchard Père & Fils, Beaune Marconnets 1990 (Magnum)
Still closed on the nose; delicate macerated strawberry bouquet. Purity of fruit on the palate with high acidity; vigorous and smooth tannins, good length.
Bouchard Père & Fils, Chambertin Clos de Bèze 1989
Developed perfume with a bouquet of dried leaves, leather and gingerbread. Wonderfully rich on the palate with light tannins; a sense of terroir with some minerality. The terroir takes over the fruit intensity.
Bouchard Père & Fils, Savigny les Beaune Les Lavières 1976 (Magnum)
Delicate nose with a gamey bouquet and leathery hints. Silky tannins with fine acidity, good fruit vivacity, and some earthiness on the finish.
Bouchard Père & Fils, Beaune Grèves Vigne de l’Enfant Jésus 1961
Delicate bouquet – almost perfumed – followed by undergrowth notes. Very velvety on the palate, still some youthful characters, natural tannins and acidity with some richness on the finish.
Bouchard Père & Fils, Le Corton 1959 (Magnum)
Very attractive nose, fabulous bouquet: smokey and gamey; still fresh with some wild strawberry hints. Wonderful structure with natural acidity and fine tannins; a very complete and broad wine.